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Zoran Petrović, Raiffeisen Bank CEO

We Raise The Bar Even When It’s Tough

We’ve viewed digital transformation as an imperative for several years already, and have started intensive work and investments in a desire to respond to the shifting needs of modern clients in a timely manner. Our applications are today among the best on the market

One can expect part of the economy to have been transformed, or at least undergoing transformation, by the end of the epidemic, which is why we expect an increase in the number of micro-enterprises and entrepreneurs in old industries/ services, but which will now function in a new way, adapted to post-crisis conditions, says Raiffeisen banka CEO Zoran Petrović.

Raiffeisen

On the other hand, says our interlocutor, “the state has announced that infrastructure projects (investment strategy 2025) will continue to accelerate economic growth, but that the economy will have to seek new ways of functioning, because it is not expected that supply chains will be established so quickly even in the post-crisis period. It is for this reason that we can expect regional economic connectivity to strengthen.”

How has your bank responded to the challenges of accelerated digitalisation?

– Our electronic and mobile banking applications for individuals and businesses are among the best on the market. We were the first to introduce the now well-known Rea chat bot, which works on the principle of artificial intelligence and provides clients with support on popular communications platforms. We are the first bank in our country and our region, but also in the entire Raiffeisen Group, to have introduced iKeš [iCash] as a real online cash loan, even for those citizens who are not clients of our bank.

All of this was done prior to the outbreak of the Coronavirus pandemic, and by March it was already clear that digital services are becoming obligatory and no longer a matter of preference. We have recorded significant growth in the number of users of all digital services: active users of mobile and internet banking, online cash loans, interaction with chatbots etc. We believe that this trend would have occurred even if there hadn’t been a pandemic.

In previous years, as well as in 2019, we achieved excellent business results… we now have an obligation to continue to “raise the bar” even in this challenging time brought about by the health crisis

Raiffeisen banka has been acknowledged in the annual selection of the “European Banking Awards” for the fourth consecutive year. What factors will determine banks’ business results in the period ahead?

– I would just supplement your question with the statistic that we’ve won the award for the “Best Digital Bank in Serbia” for the last two years in a row, chosen by magazine Global Finance. This adds to the previous topic and provides a good introduction when it comes to assessing what the future of operations will be like.

Acknowledgements from the world’s financial magazines provide proof that what we do is also recognised beyond the borders of our market, and that is always good. In previous years, as well as in 2019, we achieved excellent business results and improved our service significantly. Awards are recognition, but also represent an obligation to continue to “raise the bar”, even when it is already very high, as is the case in this challenging time brought about by the health crisis.

All banks, including ours, must get down to the task of transforming digitally and introducing completely new and innovative services and products even more strongly in the future, in order to maintain the trust of clients already acquired or to gain new clients.

I believe that, without that, it would be tough to keep in step with the competition, which now doesn’t only include banks, but also smaller fintech companies and start-ups that bring significant innovations to the market and that banks must cooperate with if they want to be “in step” with the current moment.

Aleksandar Ljubić, Executive Director Of The Foreign Investors Council Of Serbia

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